FIFA U20 World Cup Review
Now that the FIFA U20 World Cup is over and all the trophies have been assigned, let’s have a look at which players we need to keep an eye in the near future.
Let’s start with the goalscorers.
The past results of this category show us that perhaps this is not the best way to find the best strikers; previous winners of this category that later turned into goal machines were Lionel Messi (2005) and Sergio Aguero (2007) however, we also find shooting stars such as Adiyah from Ghana (2009), Henrique from Brazil (2011), Eddie Johnson from USA (2003) and Pablo Couñago from Spain (1999).
The Golden shoe for the 2013 edition got awarded to Ebenezer Assifuah (Ghana) with 6 goals scored, ahead of Bruma (Portugal) and Jese (Spain) whom both scored 5 goals.
The impression I’ve got from watching the games live is that among these 3, Bruma seems the one destined to have the best career. Assifuah needs to join a European League before he can be judged; as far as Jese, the rumors are that despite his obvious skills, he’s yet to have the right mentality to become a top player and that’s why he’s yet to play with the first squad of Real Madrid. We’ll see what the future holds for him. I know Lopez very well as he was among Roma squad this past season and will join Udinese on a co-ownership for the 2013-2014 season which I find to be a perfect location for him to grow patiently, learn from Master Di Natale and start finding the net constantly.
I’ve also got a very good impression from Croatian Rebic and Chileans Castillo and Henriquez; the first two could be potential leading actors in the transfer markets to come while Henriquez could slowly make his way up to Manchester United first team.
The golden glove for the 2013 edition was awarded to Uruguay’s goalkeeper Guillermo De Amores; very good goalkeeper, however it’s a questionable decision as France's, Alphonse Areola, gave the trophy to his team thanks to his numerous great saves during the final match. In my opinion they are both destined to be top goalkeepers.
Previous winner of this trophy were Portuguese Mika (2011) who so far is yet to find space in a top team, and Alvarado from Costa Rica (2009) who’s been Az starting goalkeeper in the last two seasons.
The golden ball is awarded to the best player of the tournament, the silver ball to the second best and the bronze one to the third.
France’s captain Paul Pogba was awarded the golden ball, Uruguayan Nicolas Lopez the silver one and Clifford Aboagye from Ghana.
The award is apparently selected by media poll. The outcome of the vote seems both political and simplistic as if either there was the purpose to please the top three teams or perhaps the journalists, as often happened for the FIFA Golden Ball, they vote for the most representative players without actually having knowledge of the games or bother watching them carefully.
Don’t get me wrong, these 3 players are very good footballers and will have great careers, however, the purpose of these award is to reward the best 3 players in the tournament no matter what their name is or the color of their jersey.
Speaking about midfielders, France defensive midfielders Pogba and Kondogbia were above everyone and the fact they play regularly in Italy and Spain is the prove; as far as attacking midfielders Porto’s new signing and Colombia’s captain Quintero was also above everyone else in that role.
Iraq’s Humam Tariq was also a pleasant surprise of the tournament while his teammate Mahdi Kamil seems a potentially good center midfielder but needs to grow physically.
With no doubt the best playmaker was Atletico Madrid Oliver Torres; watching him play live with Spain was a real pleasure, the way he moves with and without the ball is pure magic and breath taking to watch; Spain has probably found Xavi’s substitute for La Roja.
Let’s have a look at defenders.
By far France Foulquier was the best right defender and many offensive game plays of his team depended on his runs and overlaps; same thing for Digne on France left back position and his recent expensive transfer to PSG is the prove. Iraqi Ali Adnan was also a positive surprise of the tournament and took his team all the way to the semi-final with his plays.
Center defenders wise, Uruguay captain Silva showed solidity all through the tournament while Colombian Vergara is making AC Milan fans daydreaming of having found after many years the successor of Desailly.
Let’s now have a look at what could be the ideal top 11, with a classic 1-4-4-2, and the hypothetical bench.
Goalkeeper: Areola (France)
Right Back: Foulquier (France)
Center Defender: Vergara (Colombia)
Center Defender: Silva (Uruguay)
Left Back: Digne (France)
Right Midfielder: Bruma (Portugal)
Center Midfielder: Pogba (France)
Center Midfielder: Quintero (Colombia)
Left Midfielder: Acheampong (Ghana)
Forward: Lopez (Uruguay)
Forward: Assifuah (Ghana)
Golakeeper: De Amores (Uruguay)
Left Back: Ali Adnan (Iraq)
Center Defender: Zouma (France)
Right Back: Manquillo (Spain)
Center Midfielder: Kondogbia (France)
Center Midfielder: Oliver Torres (Spain)
Center Midfielder: Humam Tariq (Iraq)
Forward: Castillo (Chile)
Forward: Henriquez (Chile)
Forward: Jese (Spain)
Forward: Rebic (Croatia)
A special mention goes to Spanish player Deulofeu; he was impressive during the first match played by his team, but his tournament went downhill from there as his physical condition was not the best. He’s probably the best pure talent that played in this World Cup but unfortunately didn’t show all his potential; he will have a chance to do so with Everton as he was loaned by Barcelona for a year to the Premiership Team.
This was a very interesting tournament for many different reasons. Firstly being English i was appauled by England's showing. We are a country who have been ranked in the top ten of the world, and been one of the most influential countries in the academy circuit for producing top talent. Secondly many people wrote France off is the early stages and i had a feeling about their youth national teams, along with the first team. Both do underperform but have incredible amounts of talent. Pogba for me was the player of the tournament followed closely by Lopez and also silva from Uruguay.